Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (309)

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

309. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage when ministerial consent will be granted for the Arklow wastewater treatment plant to go ahead given that consent was sought in December 2020; if he will expedite this process to enable construction to take place as soon as possible given the significant environmental implications if this project is delayed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8670/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local levels. The prioritisation and progression of individual projects is a matter for determination by Irish Water.

Under section 16 of the Water Services Act 2013 (as amended by section 46 of the Gas Regulation Act 2013), Irish Water is required to seek the consent of the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage given with the approval of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to enter into capital commitments. Irish Water must seek Ministerial consent prior to entering into any individual capital commitment (or a series of individual capital commitments in respect of a project) of a value in excess of €20m. This is a financial control and not a project consent.

In the context of the updated Public Spending Code for evaluating, planning and managing the public investment in the project as it proceeds through its lifecycle, consideration is also being given to the appropriate application of the Code having regard to the current lifecycle stage of the project.

The capital commitment consent request is currently under active consideration and a decision will issue in due course.

Irish Water has established a dedicated team to deal with representations and queries from public representatives. The team can be contacted via email to oireachtasmembers@water.ie or by telephone on a dedicated number, 1890 578 578.